A brilliant,compelling read.
Shrenik Rao Editor of the Madras Courier
Whether describing how students were ‘sent to the countryside’ or how, after Mao died, young artists hung their experimental work outside the national art gallery, Vetta is always accurate with a grasp of vivid detail.
Chief Foreign Leader-Writer at the Guardian(1983-2003).
John was the chief foreign correspondent of the Guardian and was in Beijing in the time film maker Andy Cohen is describing as Beijing Spring . https://www.beijingspringfilm.com/
If you watch the trailer on the website ,you will understand WHY I wanted to write about the Stars artists.
Brushstrokes in Time was based on three years interviewing in depth eyewitnesses to the Stars Art Movement and the Beijing Spring of 1979. It was an untold story of courage and creativity, so I decided that if no one else would write about these artists, who included Ai Weiwei, then I would. The novel was endorsed by Oxford and Harvard academics and Chinese ancestry readers to whom the voice was authentic and moving. Despite that it was criticised for ‘cultural appropriation.’ The problem for the critics had nothing to do with the style, content or quality of the novel but only the identity of the author as ‘not Chinese.’ I like to quote Kwame Antony Appiah, who says, ‘All cultural practices and objects are mobile’ and ‘ownership is the wrong model.’ I believe that life is enriched by ideas spreading from East to West and West to East.
This was John’s review of the official Stars Exhibition -a time of great hope .